Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Wooden Woman wonders about dust. Mountains crumble into rocks; water tears rock into gravel; gravel’s washed and worn down to dirt; dirt’s pulverized to powdery dust, fine enough to be flour.  

The ground. Aptly named.

Detritus of stars…

…shavings of sweaters and skin.

Everything is dust.
Life depends on dust. 

Raindrops form around lofted particles of dust. Snow too.

Dust rain, Dust snow, Dust bunny.

One time Wooden Woman lived in the country down a good mile of dirt road. Not many washboards or ruts, she could blitz down that dirt road at a pretty good pace. One morning she thought to put on lip-gloss while glancing in the rear view mirror. A glimpse of Beauty and without warning cataclysmic careening off the road, hucking through a barbed wire fence, the astounded children pleading from the back seat, why did you do that?!?! Wooden Woman couldn’t wait for the dust to settle to answer; she lurched back home as best she could before the tire went flat...

Her neighbor on that road more than once stormed out of his house red faced and hollering, gesturing wildly to flag her down. Blue eyes raging he'd leaned in the car window, enunciating each syllable as if she was both deaf and......well......slow........   LADY.  YOU.  HAVE.  TO.  SLOW.        DOWN.        LOOK.      AT.      THE.        DUST.     (More gesturing)  DUUUSSST.

Static electricity builds up between airborne dust and the ground during a dust storm. It can cause blue flames to leap from barbed wire fences. Well-wishers shaking hands might generate a spark that could knock them both to the ground. Really.

Dust can be dangerous.

Mostly Wooden Woman thinks anything to do with dust chaps her hands.

The hand is a symbol for the whole self. With hands we give and take; repel and grab hold.  Fold your hands and pray; raise them high in the surrendered pose of worship; and on the way home shake your fist (or worse) at another driver. 
Chapped hands: just a little reminder of the dangers of our dusty origin.

The Lord God formed man out of the dust and breathed life into him.
So much is unexplained. 

There in the bottom of every puzzle box lays that ubiquitous grey dust.

So if tears are the prayers of the saints then dust is perhaps the heart. 
Black blizzards to crystalline snowflakes 
the heart of man is dust.


“God instituted prayer to communicate to creatures the dignity of causality.”

—Blaise Pascal


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

3. Hollow Bones

Wooden Woman remembers finding out about hollow bones.

You know, hollow bones—one reason bird flight is possible. 
Such a clever and intricate adjustment for weight. 

If you love the color green choose the lime colored budgie. Gold wire cage. Food. Sand. You’ve read up on care of birds, of course. And Wooden Woman, like most pet owners, expected gratefulness for all that—in the form of birdsong.

Unblinking eyes quietly looked through the cage each day, every day.

Wooden Woman wired in a little mirror, as if a reflection can be a familiar sort of friend.

Little Bird died on a vibe of heaven, cage having been moved atop a stereo speaker 
for motivational purposes.

Wooden Woman wonders what message she should get from this.

She wonders about the time she ran out the front door and tiptoed down the steep driveway to get the mail and there it was—too soon without a shell. The beaky head damply stuck in the dirt, almost-ready wings elbowed out. Large eyes closed with lids so thin she imaged they might see right through this great loss.

No miracle of hollow bones.

No chance to be who they were meant to be, do what they were made to do.

Nine years ago Wooden Woman’s mother died. 
Her death raises murmurations even still.

In the dusky evenings of winter months small groups of starlings begin to flock; others nearby who have been feeding together join, and as if by national decree from miles around they come THEY COME, and fill the sky with breathtaking choreography. Ohhhh. OHHHHhhh.

It’s called a murmuration.

Starlings couldn't care less about the complexity of Beauty. A bird’s brain is just not ready for that. Apparently.  

Wooden Woman wonders if her momma felt her life was all it could have been.

Life so often is getting caught up in the pulsing throng, becoming like a cloud of birds, and if you don’t follow, you crash. 
But you don’t crash.

Every now and then the cloud lolls over and turns back on itself and from the crispness of the edge…

…you lead.

And this life thrills you even as it troubles you.

The Audubon site says that maybe in 5 years they will know how and why birds organize in groups.

HAH. That’s what Wooden Woman says. 


Here, take a look at this link.

Note to self: Bird bones are actually denser and heavier than our bones so they can be thin and hollow and not break.

Be kinder. Love more deeply. Fly higher.



Sunday, January 5, 2014

2. She calls it My Chair

Wooden Woman’s father had His Chair. Wooden Woman has My Chair. Big enough to scrunch her whole self into a corner, feet curled under her. She leaves room for My Dog. My Dog is gone now—a story for another time. Suffice it to say chairs and dogs are conducive to both reading and thinking.

Today Wooden Woman crawls into My Chair and looks around the room. This is how her prayers begin:

Oh my.             And...                 There you are!
Greetings to God.

Then...           Oh my.              And...      
she does a lot of explaining.

Wooden Woman finds faith to be a mirror tilted to see her invisible self.

What is it about mirrors? Almost miraculous. She dreads’s going to look bad...and she simply cannot resist standing there and staring.

Wooden Woman is probably hoping Beauty will be lurking in the background.

My Dog thought Beauty and Mirrors were WoooooooOOOF.

In the end Sorrow sits in My Chair quietly for a while: warm and comfortable and broken.


Books are mirrors.  Wooden Woman calls the good ones My Books.

My Books climb into your insides. Certain scenes press their reflection against your breastbone for a lifetime. Thin and pale, shorn away to spite the lice…smelling of that distinctly human smell that accumulates on the one rag you get to wear and lingers there on the back of the neck…then miraculously released from the concentration camp…tossed into a hospital…and ordered to get clean…

What does a bath feel like to skin that dirty? Wooden Woman doesn’t want to leave the warm water of that first cleansing either. Eventually there was the softness of a new nightgown cozied around her. Two clean sheets enveloped her with unknown kindness…she hesitates to go to sleep for fear it is just a dream…

In the dark of her room Wooden Woman feels her way to My Big Bed. She turns on a bed warmer under the sheets.

Oh, she knows there is life, even good life, without My Chair, My Books, My Dog, and Automatic Warming. 

Still each night Wooden Woman rolls into that same old story of a God that rescues. She lies on her back, looks up into the ceiling, and feels it all over again—the goodness of being clean and lying in a bed that never gets cold.


(Wooden Woman)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Wooden Woman pours a cup of boiling water and slips out the front door into ten-below-zero winter. She nods to those watching from the window, steadies the contents as she pulls her arm back, and without warning flings the water in a violent arc overhead.

Instantaneous cloud making. Quite miraculous.  Nothing at all drops to the ground. It will make you cheer.

Frost is more shy. Often nocturnal. It waits for energy to drop and wind to quiet, finding places close to the ground that the zephyrs miss. Frost is also water but with more patience. Spikes of hoar and rime transform the world in ways humans cannot; windows design themselves with filigree. Wooden Woman thinks frost is the perfect blend of patience and beauty and audaciousness.

Isn’t it interesting there is an element of indifference in the scream of vermillion just before sunset; and in the riot of dahlias nodding together on a spring morning; even in the weary face of a woman closing her eyes for a moment, her cheek snuggled against a sleeping child. Beauty is indifferent to us. No need of a viewer. Makes no difference to beauty.

Oh, but honey come quick, you’re going to miss it.          

Oops. Gone now.        Sorry.

We are drawn to beauty like a drug. And we take all the credit for its goodness when it appears. 
Great hubris.

Wooden Woman thinks the drug should be called Encouragement.

Everyday something to take your breath away. From God. To you. With love.